Everyone has one of those days when just about everything that could go wrong does go wrong. But, did you ever have a day - or a series of days - when you felt that your run of bad luck had almost turned into a full-blown curse? I'll share with you just such an example. It was July 2014 and the weekend began in fine fashion, as it almost always does. On Friday evening I headed off with a bunch of mates to a local pub to watch an English soccer game on the owner’s big-screen television. A great deal of beer was drunk, and plentiful plates of fish and chips were devoured. In other words, it was a good night. Things soon changed, however.
Around 5:00 p.m. the next day, things began to change: my week of madness and chaos was about to begin. I sat down to eat a pizza and thought: why is it suddenly so hot in my apartment? I got up off the couch and put my hand up to one of the air vents. Damn! It was coming through warm. And, worse still, the temperature outside was around the mid-90s. I quickly called the emergency maintenance number. Within about fifteen minutes, the chief maintenance guy at my apartment complex knocked on my front-door. After around another fifteen minutes or thereabouts, he broke the bad news: my air-conditioner unit was fried. Fortunately, the repair didn’t cost me anything, as it was all covered by the complex’s insurance. But, he was unable to get everything up and running until Monday.
So, he installed a single window-unit in my bedroom, where I was forced to hang out for around a day and a half. “Cooped” would be a better term. Each and every attempt to leave the bedroom had me walking into a torturous wall of overwhelming heat. Not fun. Come Monday morning, however, all was good and I had a new unit. For a few hours, anyway, all was good. I didn’t know it at the time, but things were about to get seriously weird.
Monday evening was in stark contrast to Saturday night: the temperature was still through the roof, but the sunny skies were gone. In their place was a thick, all-dominating blanket of dark clouds. They raced across the skies, propelled by a fierce, howling wind. The rain was pouring down in buckets. Lightning flashed violently and thunder rumbled loudly. Around 6:30 p.m., I put on a hoodie, zipped it up to the neck, and pulled it down tight over my head. With the rain coming down like an ancient deluge, I raced down the steps of my apartment and ran to the mailbox, dodging quickly-growing puddles of water. On retrieving the mail, I charged back home. I took the fourteen steps two at a time, flung open the door, and slammed it behind me. I was soaked. And then it happened.
Barely two or three seconds after shutting the front-door, there was an almighty bang; a brilliant white-yellow flash filled the corner of the living-room - and right next to the door itself. Had I not taken those steps two at a time, and was I not around twelve-feet into the room, I would likely have been as fried as the fish and chips I heartily devoured a couple of nights earlier. The door was actually singed, the room was overwhelmed by the unpleasant odor of burnt metal, and all of my AT&T equipment and my landline were destroyed, as was my DVD player. Thankfully, my television escaped utterly unscathed. Given the timing, it was hard for me not to think that the lightning was meant for me. Based on what happened next, it just might have been.
The next morning was spent buying a new landline and a DVD player and then hanging around, awaiting the AT&T guy’s arrival. No sooner was everything good when something else happened – my cell-phone stopped working for around five hours. I took the battery out, replaced it, turned it on and off etc., etc. – and all to no avail. I was about ready to smash it against my office wall when, quite out of the blue, it started working again. It has not given me any hassle since. My trials and tribulations were still not over, however.
Midway through the following sunny afternoon I took a casual stroll down to the mailbox – which, weather-wise, was in stark contrast to my actions on the night of the storm. As I crossed the car-park area, I caught the sight of something dark and compact hurtling towards me: it was a blackbird. The creature, for reasons I still cannot fathom, launched a full-scale attack on me, and just missed my face as I ducked down. I spun around and saw the bird propel itself to a height of around fifty feet. I stared for a moment, noting how it seemed to hang in the air for a second or two, and watched with a mixture of trepidation and “WTF?” as the bird launched another attack. It dive-bombed me, screeching and squawking in deranged fashion. To say that it was all very reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds, would not be an understatement. In fact, it would be right on target.
Barely avoiding getting hit by lightning, electrical breakdowns, the destruction of an air-con unit, a fried landline, a destroyed DVD player, my AT&T equipment wiped out, the temporary failure of a cell-phone, and all within a few days of each other - coupled with not just one violent bird attack, but two – led me to suspect that all was not well in Arlington, Texas. Or, was it? Some might say that something supernatural was afoot. A few really did think I was cursed (and they still think that I am...it's a long story, with much more to it...). On the other hand, it's a fact of life that, occasionally, shit happens. As for me? Well, I think it was just a run of bad luck. Seeing curses and demons everywhere, and thinking that your life is manipulated by invisible things, is the road to madness. Probably...